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Dior Upholds Traditional Indian Craft in Fall 2023 Show Held in Mumbai – V Magazine

By collaborating with Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft, Maria Grazia Chiuri has imbued Indian embellishment into classic french designs

By collaborating with Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft, Maria Grazia Chiuri has imbued Indian embellishment into classic french designs

Yesterday in Mumbai, Dior unveiled their Fall 2023 Collection as an evaluation of the relationship between France and India, specifically through the lens of the storied fashion house. Looking back to 1962, then Artistic Director Marc Bohan displayed his vision for a more contemporary Dior through presentations in Mumbai and Delhi, where sari-inspired designs were shown alongside evening coats in a merging of French and Indian design. In current Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri’s tenure at Dior, she has maintained a relationship with Karishma Swali, who directs the Chanakya ateliers as well as the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai, which have provided elaborate ornamentation to Dior garments in recent years. The school, which feeds into the ateliers, are grounds where the legacy of impeccable Indian embroidery and embellishment are mastered.

In light of Chiuri’s friendship with Swali and in honor of Bohan’s inspiration, the French fashion house took to the bustling city of Mumbai for a massive presentation of more relaxed daywear alongside intricate and extravagant eveningwear. Held at Mumbai’s Gateway of India, an architectural tourist attraction in the city, the collection was shown under an arch that had been covered in fabrics, with models floating down a carpeted runway.

The opening portion of the collection was a touchpoint from Dior’s Ready-to-Wear show from the end of February, which calls for a neutral-defined color palette and clothing that is wardrobe-centric — yet here, the draped nature of the sari has been adapted into the garments. This first third of the show is rooted in simplicity; effortless garments that are clearly crafted with longevity in mind, before look 32 hit the runway, which started to show an entirely new side to this idea of long-lasting clothing. Embracing the opulent colors of the country, the looks exploded into chartreuse, shocking hot pink, and ultra-deep blue, showing off silhouettes that have been designed with the history of Indian fashions in mind.

From kaleidoscopic dyed garments to flora-printed dresses, the fabric treatments are what clearly make this collection sing. It’s highly evident that the makers from the Chanakya ateliers have been highly involved in the creation of this collection, as the delicate and fabulously ornamental embellishments are paramount to a good majority of the looks. Both the Chanakya ateliers as well as the School of Craft have collaborated with Dior in a harmonious manner that is uplifting to watch unfold — a system that encourages traditional craft and shows the immense artisanal hand that is essential to embellishment. 

Destination shows have become common practice in the fashion industry, especially amongst heritage brands, yet often these shows can feel void of the culture of the cities that they place themselves in — this is where Dior has stood out from the crowd. In not only honoring the crafts of India, but collaborating with local artists, Dior has shown a delightful amalgamation of their classic French silhouettes in tandem with the intrinsic practice of Indian embellishment.

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